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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Car accidents: Man veers into oncoming traffic, leaving 3 dead

Initial press reports regarding an auto accident can be sparse on the facts and even inaccurate in what they do report. With respect to car accidents in California, and other states for that matter, one should not generally make conclusions from short news articles that obviously present a brief summary and nothing else. That being said, a brief news report regarding a recent car crash near Lancaster may nonetheless give a good picture of the allocation of liability between the parties.

If the general scenario of reported facts turns out to be accurate, there will be little doubt that the accident was caused by a driver who veered suddenly into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The crash occurred near Avenue D and the southbound 14 Freeway onramp, according to the California Highway Patrol. A car driven by a 37-year-old male of Palmdale was traveling westbound when it suddenly turned left into the path of an oncoming car driven by a 61-year-old female.

Some California car accidents can be prevented

When a person hears about a tragic, deadly traffic accident in California, it seems like there is nothing to be done about it. Car accidents happen every day, and innocent lives are often lost in the blink of an eye. However, the fact is that many accidents can be prevented if drivers plan ahead and stay alert.

More and more accidents on the highway seem to involve some kind of road rage. While drivers cannot always control the behavior of other drivers, learning to control their own behavior is a good start. Drivers who cannot control their tempers over perceived slights on the road may consider seeking professional help to manage their anger.

Victims of California car accidents fortunate to escape injury

When traffic comes to a stop at night on a California highway, there is a pretty good chance that there is some trouble ahead. Car accidents may not always mean serious injury, but when the ones who cause the crash do not take responsibility, it adds to the frustration. Even when one faces seemingly minor injuries from a hit and run, that person may be due some compensation.

A recent accident occurred in the eastbound lane of a local highway when a minivan collided with another car around 9:30 p.m. The incident brought traffic to a standstill, causing another fender bender. Meanwhile, the driver of the minivan got out of his vehicle and ran from the scene. He was found sometime later hiding in a nearby ditch among the grasses. Police suspect he may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they found drug paraphernalia in his vehicle.

$44.1 million jury verdict based on medical mistake

One of the largest medical malpractice awards in the country so far this year, i.e., the sum of $44.1 million, was rendered by a jury in another jurisdiction. The verdict was entered against a doctor and a renowned university hospital where the surgery took place. The theory of recovery for the plaintiff was based on the failure of the hospital staff and the medical mistake of the doctor to not recognize the female patient's adverse reaction to the blood thinner, Heparin. The principles of negligence under California law are similar to the principles applied in the case.

The patient was in the hospital for surgical removal of a benign tumor in her brain. After removal of the tumor, testing was allegedly commenced to determine whether the blood had thinned too much. For six days, it was alleged that the tests showed a steady movement each day from the low end to the high end of the coagulation spectrum.

Police say pregnant, drunk female caused fatal accident

When a person is driving under the influence and causes an accident resulting in death, it is a form of vehicular homicide in California and most states. In addition, a drunk driving offense generally indicates a degree of recklessness that rises to a criminal level, thus making a resulting death generally a homicidal act or a felony violation that carries a very stiff criminal sentence. When the impairment causes the fatal accident and the victim's death, there is not only criminal responsibility but also civil liability to the decedent's estate and generally also to other victims seriously injured in the accident.

Sometimes in a civil action for monetary damages for the death or serious injury of the plaintiff in a case involving impaired driving, the court may allow a demand for punitive damages. This would be in addition to the usual damages allowed in a civil action. In a recent case in Madera County, a drunk and pregnant driver allegedly rear-ended a Hummer while she was speeding, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Car accidents are particularly traumatic for young children

Injuries to young children in California and elsewhere are among the most heartbreaking that parents and teachers have to confront. When a vehicle goes wildly astray and hits children while they are entering their school, the injuries can disrupt the families involved and can paralyze a school's operations for days to come. Car accidents involving serious injuries to children must be aggressively investigated, and the claims for personal injury reparations should be processed without undue delay.

This was the traumatic impact facing the Del Mar Heights Elementary School on May 13 when a car raced out of control, jumped onto the sidewalk and mowed down nine children and an adult right in front of the schoolhouse entrance. It does not appear that anyone was killed by the runaway vehicle, but at least six children had to be taken to hospitals for immediate care. The extent and nature of the injuries were not reported.

Medical malpractice is the cause of 700 deaths per day

The recent highly publicized study reporting medical negligence as the third leading cause of death in the United States has stimulated much new commentary on the medical care crisis in the country. Medical providers have been seeking appropriate responses, and patients are talking more freely about their unreported horror stories of medical negligence. The report, issued by doctors at one of the country's finest medical schools, says in effect that over 700 people are dying from medical malpractice in the country each day, with California having its own fair share of that number.

The surgeon who chaired the research indicated bluntly that people are dying mostly from poor medical care rather than from the disease or condition for which they sought care. The range of problems covers a wide variety of negligent errors committed by hospitals, doctors and medical technicians. Just a few of the problems involve misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, botched birth deliveries, surgical errors, removal of the wrong limbs or body parts and even leaving surgical instruments inside the patient's body.  

Pedestrian accident data shows how vulnerable we all are

Crossing the street shouldn't take an act of heroism to complete. It is a simple task that has unfortunately become a scary one too. All it takes is one driver to not see you or one driver to lack the attention necessary when approaching an intersection, and you've got yourself a terrible pedestrian accident.

We are all pedestrians. At some point, we will all cross the street. We will all expect drivers to stop at the crosswalk and respect our space. And yet some drivers out there still lack the attention at certain moments to keep pedestrians safe.

Distracted driving crackdown in San Diego sheds light on problem

Chula Vista was the site of a distracted driving crackdown recently, as the police made a concerted effort to catch people who were using their cellphones while driving -- or just not paying attention in accordance with the rules of the road.

The crackdown yielded 99 driving citations, with 54 of them relating to cellphone use while driving and the remaining 45 relating to texting while driving. The crackdown lasted for only five hours. That's nearly 20 people per hour violating distracted driving laws, good for a rate of one distracted driver every three minutes. And those are just the drivers that the police saw and caught on that particular day.

Passenger dies in fatal accident during alleged street racing

Although street racing is known to be a potentially deadly activity, it continues to fascinate some California drivers. Drivers who defy the law by taking part in street races will have to accept the fact that they will be held responsible for personal injuries or even fatalities caused by crashes during street racing. Unfortunately, if a fatal accident occurs, it is often the passengers in these speeding cars who lose their lives.

An 18-year-old driver was arrested on a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after a crash that occurred during an alleged street race in Riverside County. An accident report indicates that this young driver and another 19-year-old man were racing on a Lake Elsinore road just after midnight on a recent Sunday. The 18-year-old reportedly failed to maintain control of his vehicle and smashed into a utility pole.